Thursday, November 27, 2008

Politically incorrect, absolutely biased rant.

You know I have had some reservations about settling in Dehradun for the first few weeks. I have shrugged it off by saying ‘new place, adjustment issues’. But let me get the reasons off my chest and then we can move on to talking about the weather, ok?

I thought I will be moving out of the hindu fanaticism belt when I left Maharashtra, so it discomfited me (to say the least) that it is alive and kicking here.

I arrived in D’dun on a Sunday, and the first thing I did was buy a local paper. The main article in that rag attempted to advise the government on how to deal with terrorism, or rather, with terrorists, or rather, with that entire section of society that has been labelled as “terrorist”. Apparently ‘we’ need to deal with ‘them’ they way they are treated in ‘their countries’ with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Who is we? And who is them? And which country are you talking about, exactly? Does the author seriously believe that India has a spotless human rights record?

The next week, I am off to the hills, and in a village near the Nepal border, I come across a ‘situation’. Policemen aplenty, onlookers even more, much shouting, and in the centre of it all, three-four wretched, roughed-up youths.

“What is happening?”

“ They have been arrested.”

“why?”

“They were taking some cows to Nepal to be slaughtered.”

“Ah, they stole the cattle.”

“No, no. They are traders. But they were going to slaughter them. And killing gaumatas (the cow as mother) is a sin.”

(I did not do anything. I could not have done much, but I did not even try. Forgive me)

So let me get this straight. Cow-slaughter is not banned in India, but it is considered to be a ‘sin’ by some good citizens, and so one is liable to be arrested for the intent to slaughter a cow. This is ok, as it is ok to beat up some poor youths who are trying to make a living any legal way they can. It is ok to slaughter goats and chickens, ok to wander into a Reserved Forest with a gun and shoot at endangered animals, ok to beat up other humans, and also ok to let those wretched cows starve to death, but NOT ok to do something which will provide food for around 20% of the population and apparel for the entire population (I mean seriously, where do these ban-on-cow-slaughter enthusiasts think their shoes come from?).

My boss greets everyone with a “Jai Ramji Ki”. Which I forgive because he just does it to be contrary, he hasn’t been seen in a temple since he got his set of permanent teeth, and most importantly, he does not impose it on other people. The office gardener however, is a different story. Gem of a man, no doubt, and has a keen understanding of roses. He greets everyone with a “Hari Om”. The first time I met him; I greeted him with a “Namaste”, and was gently corrected. Since then I greet him with a Hari Om, as does the entire staff, but on the days when I am preoccupied and slip up, I am always corrected “I prefer Hari Om, Madam. This way, the Lord’s name is on our lips.” When I am reading or working and merely grunt in reply, he stands directly in my line of vision and repeats the Hari Om till I get the subtle hint. This is not a big deal, but his insistence is annoying- like a grain of sand in my shoe. One of these days I am going to greet him with a ‘Salaam Aleikuum’. That way also, the Lord’s name will be on our lips, don’t you agree?

My mother and sister, not to worry. I will stop short of getting myself lynched.

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